Successful Auditions – Top Tips

Whether it’s for a reality TV show or a band looking for a vocalist, Juliet Russell shows the way.

First of all I want to say how much I have enjoyed being Vocal Coach in Residence for Voice Council Magazine.

I’ve loved watching all of your videos and have appreciated all of the responses and feedback. Thank you so much.

I have had a lot of emails about auditions this week so my final article is designed to support a successful outcome.

Sadly I can’t guarantee that the following points will get you the job; what I can guarantee is that there are specific things you can be in control of and that these will significantly improve your chances of success.

Be Realistic – I am assuming that you are already technically proficient and suitable for the casting! Read the audition notes and ensure that you fulfil the criteria.

Be Yourself – If you have a choice over what to sing, choose songs that reflect who you are as an artist. If you don’t get the audition, at least you know it was because you weren’t right for it, whereas if you go for choices that don’t reflect you and second-guess what the panel might be seeking, you might be wrong and end up disappointed. If it’s for a specific role or job, then it makes sense to focus your repertoire styles and choices appropriately.

Be Memorable – While the voice is the most important thing, how you look is undeniably part of the mix. It’s easy to misunderstand this as a judgement about attractiveness, but that’s not it. I want to see someone’s personality reflected in how they present themselves, whatever that means to you. Initially the audition panel has a limited time in which to get to know you. Let your personality shine through in how you sing, dress and interact.

Be Prepared – Prepare what you’ve been asked to, but always have more in reserve. The people auditioning you may ask for something different or additional, especially if they like what they hear. As a singer you should have repertoire at your fingertips. This sounds SO obvious, but I’ve seen it happen. If you don’t know the words, melody and structure of the song you have chosen, you are going to look silly. Rehearse thoroughly. If you make a mistake, recover quickly. Don’t let it become the focus.

Be Punctual – Plan your journey in advance. Leave more than enough time for travel and contingency. Make sure you have the address, contact names and numbers and all relevant information with you.

Be Comfortable in an Uncomfortable Situation – Auditions can be much more nerve-wracking than a performance. Find ways to help you relax and feel comfortable beforehand. Breathing exercises where the exhalation is longer than the inhalation can help, as can positive visualisation. Greet the panel when you enter the room and be friendly and natural. You don’t need to be over the top, but behave as you would when meeting anyone for the first time.

Be Receptive and Responsive – Even if you are feeling shy or nervous, try to stay focussed and listen to what is being asked of you. You will often have the unexpected thrown at you in an audition. Embrace the challenge and even if it’s out of your comfort zone, try to respond professionally. If the suggestion is unprofessional however, feel free to leave!

Be Gracious – If you are critiqued, not recalled or unsuccessful this time, be gracious. Thank the panel for their time and feedback. This will also help you be memorable to them and you never know when you might meet again.

Be Resilient – Sometimes you can be brilliant, but not what they are looking for on the day. Your time will come. Take each audition as an opportunity to hone your craft and gain valuable experience. There are many pathways to being successful and never see an audition as your one and only chance or last hope. It really isn’t.

My Reactions To This Week’s Peer Review Vids:

Giselle – Lights (Cover)

I love that you’ve thought about your performance and the way you open your eyes and look directly at the camera once you start singing is effective. You have a lovely lightness of touch vocally and your tone sounds very natural and unforced, which is great. I can see you anticipating the higher notes and you can relax on this. You don’t need to reach up to them. You’re hitting them in tune, but your body subtly moves up when you sing them. Stay relaxed. At 1.23 you go into chest voice, which is a great choice, but you could connect more confidently. It doesn’t need to be stronger, but a little more secure so practise moving between different timbres and registers in your practice. Very nice over all – well done.

Nathalie Restoule – Joss Stone Cover

I like the immediacy of your performance and that you connect with the emotion and atmosphere of the song through distinctive vocal choices from the first line. Your emotional connection is very apparent and your ability to interpret a song while keeping your own style is a real strength. You have a very mature sound for your age too and are a focussed performer and vocalist. Last week I wrote an article on creak so thank you for demonstrating it so well! I think you could use it a bit less though. Make sure it doesn’t become a habit rather than choice, but where it works well it does enhance your interpretation. Lovely rendition. I look forward to hearing more from you.

See VoiceCouncil’s Feature Interview with Juliet Russell

Juliet Russell has coached Grammy award winners and X-Factor finalists and is a vocal coach on BBC1’s The Voice. Passionate about developing aspiring artists, she co-founded Sense of Sound She has collaborated with artists and companies including Damon Albarn, Imogen Heap, Paloma Faith, Ringo Starr, BBC, Channel 4, Universal Royal Opera House, Greenpeace and Glastonbury, and has written music for film, television and radio. Juliet holds a Masters degree in Music and is in huge demand as coach, vocal arranger and musical director. Juliet is passionate about developing aspiring artists and supporting individuals and communities to explore their voices and creativity.
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